Could a Jake Debrusk trade become reality with the Bruins facing a tighter salary cap? The Bruins were always going to have some form of cap issues in the near future. The global pandemic and pause of the season have only made those issues worse. With the league moving in the direction of a flat cap for at least a few years, tough roster decisions will need to be made. Back in March I wrote an article you can read here.
The article talks about the possibility of Debrusk asking for a contract the Bruins can't afford. Also mentioned is Sweeney wanting to get back into the first round of this year's draft. Could Debrusk be moved for a high enough draft pick to get an impact player?
Jake Debrusk Trade Revisited
The reason behind this revisit has to do with some recent tweets from Boston sports legend Joe Haggerty. The first tweet is a short video that you can watch here.
In the video Haggs says Debrusk is looking for a deal similar to those recenlty signed by Brock Boeser and Travis Konecny. Boeser is signed for the next three years at $5.875 Million per year. Konecny signed more of a long term deal for six years and $5.5 Million per year.
In my original article, a few comparable players I used were Jakub Vrana, Alex Tuch, and Tomas Hertl. Vrana represented the best case for the Bruins, signing a two year $3.35 Million per year deal. Tuch was a projection of what a long term deal could be signing for seven years and $4.75 Million per year. Finally, Hertl would have been Debrusk pricing himself out of the Bruins range, with a four-year deal worth $5.625 Million per year. Looking at the numbers reported by Haggs, Debrusk seems to be in the market for a deal worth around $5 Million per season.
Draft Prospects Revisited
In my first article I suggested a few prospects the Bruins might have some interest in if they could get a top 10-15 pick. Debrusk having a solid playoffs would go a long way in solidifying his value for a pick in that range. Some prospects I looked at included Jack Quinn, Noel Gunler, Seth Jarvis, and Rodin Amirov. Since late March the prospect rankings have shifted. Here is another tweet from Haggerty showing his most recent mock draft.
A few names I mentioned include Noel Gunler, now in the ninth spot going to Montreal. Also still in this range is Jack Quinn going eleventh to New Jersey. More interesting is a pair of names who have been falling since early draft rankings. The first of those two players is the former Top 5 projected pick, Alexander Holtz. Holtz has been praised as the best shooter in this class, but his one-dimensional play could be hurting his value. Haggerty has Holtz going thirteenth overall to the Winnipeg Jets. Another player whose name has been sliding down draft boards is Anton Lundell. Once seen as a top 10 lock, Haggerty has Lundell going fourteenth overall to the New York Rangers. Of those players, Lundell is the one I am most interested in.
With the second half of the lottery still to be decided, picks 9-15 are all up in the air. While that makes figuring out potential trade partners more difficult, it also provides some interesting possibilities. First is the Minnesota Wild, who could have two first-round lottery picks. If both the Wild and Penguins lose in the play-in round they would each have a shot at the Number 1 pick and another top 15 pick. Could they see their aging core and chose to move a pick for a proven NHL player?
The next team on the list is the Ottawa Senators. With three picks possibly in the top 15 could the Sens want to speed up their rebuild? Already with the third and fifth picks if the Islanders lose, could the Senators use their final first-round pick to bring in a potential 30 goal scorer in Debrusk? Yes, moving him within the division is less than ideal, but it is a tolerable outcome. Another team with three first-round picks is New Jersey. The Devils have the seventh pick, along with first-rounders from Arizona and Vancouver. If both of those teams lose in the play-in round the Devils would have three top 15 picks and could move one of them to pick up some immediate goal-scoring help.
The final team I'm going to include is the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets already have an impressive offense, so adding Debrusk might not be a perfect fit. However, adding a defenseman to address their biggest weakness and we might have a deal in the making. The Jets with an improved defense are a contending team. Maybe that means they don't want to wait for help from a rookie, but are looking for more established NHL players.
With the flat cap hurting the Bruins short term cap flexibility a Jake Debrusk trade might be an unavoidable situation. Especially if the team is looking to retain Krug. Fitting both on the roster would severely hurt the team's depth. Anton Lundell might not be a wing or an immediate replacement for Debrusk, but he projects to be a Bergeron 2.0. With Kase, Bjork, Ritchie, and Coyle serving as our key depth forwards, drafting and developing the next Bergeron seems like something we should do. With Studnika looking like the future offensively at the center position, pairing that with the 200-foot game of Lundell continues the Bruins one-two punch at center. All the cap numbers are from www.Capfriendly.com. Be sure to check them out for all your salary cap questions. With more news still to come keep checking back for all the latest stay safe and let's go Bruins.
Featured image courtesy of Rich Lam/Getty Images.